Friday, April 20, 2012

News! WashPost Gets A Gaza Story Almost Right

Seems reporter  Karin Brulliard got the story right, almost:-

In Gaza, Hamas rule has not turned out as many expected

The housing stipends, promised by Hamas social workers after much of Umm Mohammed’s neighborhood was demolished in an Israeli military assault three years ago, never came. The water barrels pledged by municipal authorities seemed to go only to Hamas cadres. Electricity is a rarity...the housewife said, the enclave’s Hamas rulers watched from “their chairs” — lingo here for cushy seats of power...“They say they are the resistance against the enemy,” said Umm Mohammed, 26, bouncing a baby on her knee. “Where is the resistance?”

...after five years of Hamas administration...Hamas is fast losing popularity, and recent surveys indicate that it would not win if elections were held in Gaza today...some say Hamas’s path from violent opposition movement to de facto government could be instructive: The Gaza-based rulers, many analysts say, have become more pragmatic and more self-interested — a bit more like common politicians. Whether that means Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, has altered its extremist ideology is far from clear.


...Israeli military officials say the movement remains dedicated to Israel’s ruin, as stated in its charter, and is hoarding arms for future offensives. Although some Hamas leaders voice admiration for Turkey’s moderate and democratic Islamism to foreign audiences, others unfurl militant, anti-Israel rhetoric to chanting supporters. longer looks the same to many Gazans. It secured once-lawless streets, as promised. But hopes of Islam-guided fairness and an end to the graft that had tainted the tenure of the secular Fatah party have turned to widespread griping about Hamas corruption and patronage...Members of the Hamas elite are widely thought to have enriched themselves through investment in the dusty labyrinth of smuggling tunnels beneath the border with Egypt and taxes on the imported goods. That money has been channeled into flashy cars and Hamas-owned businesses that only stalwarts get a stake in, critics say.

Street-level umbrage has risen in recent months alongside tax increases and a crippling power crisis that...began after Egypt stopped providing subsidized fuel for vehicles and...the crisis has been prolonged by Hamas’s refusal to import pricier fuel through an Israeli-controlled crossing...“Many aspects of the siege are imposed by Hamas,” said the manager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fears of losing his job.

...Alcohol and belly dancing have been banned. But efforts to require schoolgirls to wear veils, prohibit women from smoking water pipes or prevent “un-Islamic” behavior on the strip’s breezy beaches largely failed amid criticism from the public...Authoritarianism has come more in the form of quashed dissent and arrests of perceived political opponents...“We became like a police state,” said Ahmed Yousef, a former adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. “They became scared of any rally or demonstration.”

Hamas, eager to preserve its rule, has also become wary of provoking a new Israeli offensive in Gaza, costing it credibility...Hamas itself has mostly adhered to an unofficial cease-fire since the 2008-2009 Israeli offensive...Hamas has essentially abandoned longtime patron Syria...Taher al-Nunu, a spokesman for the movement, said Hamas leaders restrained fighters last month because they thought Israel was trying to provoke them to learn about their weapons arsenal, not because they have abandoned armed tactics.

“We are not working by remote control like Israel wants,” he said.


But only those who “pray in a Hamas mosque” get work...said, adding that the movement’s leaders look as though they have gotten comfortable with their mini-state and have forgotten about fighting for Palestinian independence.

So, is Hamas a remote-controlled Israeli creation? Is Gaza a great place to live? Who is at fault for the economic disaster, the corruption, the incompetence?

Who is seeking a conflict?


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